Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia: 
Coves, Coastlines & Ceilidhs

One trip we would make again would be the journey to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in Canada. We covered a lot of ground in about two and a half weeks. The next time we go, we will want to spend more time. We were perfectly happy with all of the campgrounds we mention in this article.

Our route started in New Jersey. We made our way up through Massachusetts and New Hampshire to Maine.

We took a ferry from Portland, Maine over to Yarmouth in Nova Scotia. We wanted to save the time it would take to drive further north and then loop back around to Nova Scotia. We took an overnight ferry to save even more time. (You can also take a ferry to Yarmouth from Bar Harbor, Maine.)

Once in Yarmouth, we drove up to Digby and then headed out on Digby Neck to Long Island. Another small ferry is involved to get there. If you have the time, also check out Brier Island, which is a bit further out on Digby Neck.

We had two reasons for going to Digby Neck. One was to take the whale watching trip – which was lots of fun. The other was to eat the famous Digby scallops. Don’t miss them! We had a scallop roll at a little place near the whale watching cruise that we still remember with longing.

We then headed east to Annapolis Royal. We stayed at Dunromin Campground, and went exploring by bicycle. We toured through the picturesque town with its heritage buildings and St. George Street, the oldest town street in Canada. We visited the lovely Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens and the Tidal Power project (a facility that generates hydroelectric power from the force of the Fundy tides).

We then drove the scenic Kejimkujik Scenic Drive that crosses southwestern Nova Scotia.

Lunenburg was the next spot on the itinerary, a lovely and historic waterfront town filled with interesting shops and galleries and places to eat. We also visited nearby Peggy’s Cove in this area.

Peggy's Cove Nova Scotia

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We wanted to at least see Halifax while we were in Nova Scotia. So, we stayed in the outskirts at a campground called Shubie Park on the Dartmouth side of the city. We visited the Titanic exhibit and got in a bit of city life. In retrospect, given our time constraints, we could have skipped Halifax until the next trip, so we could do it up right.

We made a quick visit to Truro on our way out to Cape Breton Island. Truro’s big sight is their Tidal Bore, a “wave” of water that moves upstream against the current, an effect from the Fundy tides. The nature of this wave depends on the time of day you are there, the tides, season, etc. Expect it to be quite interesting, but not awesome.

We loved Cape Breton, which is the northeastern tip of Nova Scotia. We enjoyed all of it – the food, music, scenery and people.

We started out in Louisbourg, and stayed at the Point of View RV Park & Suites. It It offered a nice view of the water towards the Fortress of Louisbourg. It was within walking distance of the little town and playhouse. A great touch was the lobster and crab boil dinner they host in a little beach house on the property – served Cape Breton style on newspaper.

The Fortress of Louisbourg is worth visiting. It is the largest reconstructed 18th-century French fortified town in North America. The experience is complete with reenactments, cannons on stone ramparts, street and household settings of the time, and a costumed staff to set the mood.

We made our way around the Cabot Trail over the course of several days – with fantastic scenery at every turn.

We saw the town of Baddeck with its boats and Alexander Graham Bell Museum. We golfed in Ingonish and visited the Cape Breton National Park. We saw Cheticamp, Margaree and Inverness – using MacLeod’s Beach Campsites in Dunvegan as our base.

The Ceilidhs were sensational. The word Ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) is derived from Gaelic and originally meant a visit. It denotes a house party, a concert or more usually an evening of informal Scottish traditional dancing and music. We checked local papers and kept our eyes out for signs promising an upcoming Ceilidh. Whenever we went, they were full of phenomenal fiddling, Scottish dance and lots of people having a grand time. If you go to Cape Breton Island, do not miss this experience!

We also made sure to catch some great bagpipe performances and local fairs that were filled with music and dance. We tend to go looking for the regional things that we aren’t going to find everywhere else.

We then headed over the Canso Causeway through Antigonish and left Nova Scotia to head over to Prince Edward Island (PEI).